Pages: 256 (Hardcover)
When Liza’s brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.
She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.
To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and over-excitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers’ nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests–or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.
From New York Times best-selling author Lauren Oliver comes a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty, the meaning of love, and the enduring power of hope.
Middle-Grades are not my cup of tea, but because this book has adventure element, I thought I would give it a shot.
The main character – Liza – is annoying and whiny but surprisingly smart. Obviously, she encountered a lot of magical creatures and landscapes as she explored Below. But it felt like the author’s attempts to make Liza courageous and brave just failed. Liza’s character felt not real.
And the plot. I almost didn’t feel anything, even when Liza was facing dangers. It’s absolutely predictable that she would defeat the monsters easily. There were no fright and creepiness created, thus I felt like reading an almost-lifeless paragraphs. I wish there had been more twists in the story. Also, I think there are too many unnecessary exclamation marks.
Despite all the negative things, the book is beautifully written. I found the descriptive writing style enjoyable and that was basically what drove me to read it until the very last page. Lauren Oliver is truly talented and I think I shouldn’t give up on her just because of two books which I found boring (Before I Fall and The Spindlers). I really love her writing!
And the ending, after Liza returned to her home, I finally felt something after 200 pages of emotionless. It nearly made me cry. Here’s the quote:
“These are seeds of hope. They may not look like much, but they grow everywhere, in even the hardest places, where nothing else grows” – page 239
Another good thing about this book is the cover! It’s absolutely gorgeous <3 And every beginning of a chapter there is an illustration about how the characters look like. It’s really helpful and I guess children will love them. (Well, this is a middle-grade book anyway.) Praise the illustrator!
To sum it up, the negative things overweigh the positives so this book is a no-no for me. If you’re a fan of Alice in Wonderland, then maybe this is the right book for you.